EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - A federal investigation into allegations of racial discrimination in the East Lansing School District has brought tension to a head between parents and administration. This is the second time in a year that the district has been under the microscope of the federal office of civil rights, a branch of the Department of Education.
Last year, Red Cedar supporters filed a complaint alleging that closing the school would have an adverse impact on minorities. They dropped the case when East Lansing officials said they'd consider keeping the school open if voters rejected a $53 million bond proposal, which happened last February.
Some parents in East Lansing are outraged that school officials are moving forward with their decision to close Red Cedar Elementary, even after they said they'd reconsider last year.
The elementary school is said to be one of the most diverse schools in the East Lansing district, largely because of the international families from MSU that live nearby in Spartan Village.
Supporters say closing the school means children of international students who are new to the country will not have a neighborhood school within walking distance.
Keeping Red Cedar open is something even MSU thinks is important. In a 2011 letter that the university still stands behind, MSU urges the East Lansing School District to keep Red Cedar open and told 6 News that rebuilding parts of Spartan Village would make sense if East Lansing commits to the elementary school.
"My reaction is that it's going to take a lot of resources both financially and otherwise that we really need to use in in our classrooms education our students so to revisit this, I find it unfortunate," said Hillary Henderson, president of the East Lansing Board of Education.
"We believe it was a political decision and not necessarily one that's about finances or necessarily about what's best for the children in our district," said Teresa Goforth, a parent and member of Red Cedar School Association.